New Year Print
scan, paper, black-and-white; original source: woodblock print
Galikowski 1998: Galikowski, Maria. Art and Politics in China: 1949-1984. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1998:fig. 2, insert before p.1.
Mao Zedong, New Year Print, workers, black-and-white, peasants, soldiers, woman, children, criticism, censorship
We are together with Chairman Mao
This 1950 New Year Print certainly puts Mao in a central position, even on a pedestal. But in its naive primitiveness, and doing what a New Year Print does—depicting the cheerful side of society—it presents not just the eight people surrounding Mao on right and left in mockery and sham—there are two soldiers strutting along with movements that appear to be slightly too vigorous; two peasants apparently singing while trudging to the fields; two workers with their mouths wide open, also singing loudly, one with his hands in his pockets; and a woman sitting with an extremely straight back, reading to her child. The “Great Leader” himself, too, with his slightly deranged-looking body (the head, like a baby’s, is much too large for the rest of the body), is all but caricature. Not surprisingly, the picture was criticized soon after it was first produced (Wang 1950, 24); it would not have passed Cultural Revolution censors.